Much Like The Rest Of The World, Google Has Not Heard Of Lily Allen

Oct 31st, 2006 // 4 Comments

From a Wall Street Journal article on Gmail’s oft-confused email-advertisement system, which scans your messages for certain keywords, and tries to find an appropriately corresponding ad:

Rashmi Kashyap was emailing with a friend recently, using Google Inc.’s Gmail service when she noticed a strange advertisement alongside their messages: It was a link for, which was selling “Lily and Lotus Pond Plants.”

Ms. Kashyap, a New York-based health-care consultant, was aware that Google’s computers automatically scan the content of Gmail users’ emails and try to serve up relevant text ads. But this ad was hardly a good match. What Google’s system had picked up on, apparently, was a reference in one of her messages to Lily Allen, a British pop singer.

We knew we weren’t the only ones finding bizarre ads tagged to our back-and-forth rock rants! We emailed ourselves with some random keywords, and here’s what we got back:

“Color Me Badd” = Fix Your Bad Credit Now
“Danzig” = Vote For Glenn Burkett
“The Shins” = Red Hot or Ice Cold? (personality test)

You don’t want to even know what happened when we put in “Sexual Chocolate.”

Tailoring Ads to Email Users, Google Has Some Poor Fits [WSJ]


  1. Leto

    I emailed Bjork to myself and got, “Aruba Condos You Own.”

  2. Glenn Danzig

    i had prodigy back in the day, and i always liked going on BBS dial-in sites to get new game patches (remember barney doom? ha fun). but now i just have an assistant do all my email and stuff for me–right, marco? (thats right!-marco).

    (Glenn’s new album, To The Sphincter Go The Spoils, will be out March 24th).

  3. cburst

    1. uh…slow news day?

    2. actually, what did you get when you put in sexual chocalate?

  4. aniktwo

    whenever i look at my spam folder, it gives me links to recipes like “mexican spam casserole”. nasty.

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